DENVER POST NEWSROOM Guild representatives and management met March 21 to continue collective bargaining talks.
Denver Post Editor Greg Moore joined us to give us his perspective on the current situation and the future of our newsroom. He emphasized that we need to dramatically change what we do. Revenue is in decline and legacy costs continue, resulting in layoffs going on not just in the newsroom, but throughout the company.
Two areas that were mentioned as needing to be addressed during bargaining are the possible collapse of job titles and layoff language. Collapsing some job titles would enable workers to do multiple tasks. For instance, a reporter may be asked to write a story, edit a colleague’s story and post still someone else’s story online. Or we may need more people who can do both copy editing and design. Greg stressed that he was throwing out possibilities and wants to hear all ideas.
Regarding layoff language, Greg stated that our current language keeps the company from moving quickly and that our competitors are more flexible in responding to a quickly changing business climate.
We then asked Greg to summarize some of the other corporate strategies we have been hearing about. He gave us a brief rundown on Digital First’s Project Thunderdome and spoke about regional hubs, similar to what has been done at the Bay Area News Group. The real key, he emphasized, is cost. For instance, while we have the quality and talent here, we must have an effective cost structure if a design desk is to be housed in Denver, Greg said. But he doesn’t know if we can match the efficiencies of other areas.
After Greg left, Missy Miller, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Labor Relations, reiterated that revenues continue to decline, but that we can’t just chop away at our current structure. We need to step back, she said, and reassess. She suggested that we might ask how we would build the company if we were starting from scratch today. The current structure is not the newsroom of the future, she said, and emphasized again the need for flexibility and cost effectiveness.
Our next bargaining session has been scheduled for March 27.
As always, feel free to leave your comments below or speak to any of the bargaining committee members.